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Speakers: China's plastics industry must change now

By: Isaac Li
PLASTICS NEWS CHINA

June 11, 2014

HANGZHOU, CHINA — China’s plastics industry has bid farewell to the high growth period and continues to slow down to a mid-speed phase.

That’s according to speakers at the 2014 China Plastics Industry Conference, held May 27 in Hangzhou. They also reached consensus on the urgency for the industry to change and upgrade.

China’s plastics industry went through “leaps and bounds” in 2010 and 2011, pulled back significantly in 2012, and operated in a lower growth development stage in 2013 and the first quarter of this year, said Cai Daying, deputy general secretary of the China National Light Industry Council.

He said turmoil in the financial system as well as the depreciation of the Chinese currency earlier this year have led to thinning profits for the industry, and the current state will last a while.

Specifically, the plastics industry is plagued with five major issues, according to Zhao Jungui, deputy president of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation. They include weakness in core industry capabilities and innovation; overcapacity and vicious competition, safety and environmental issues; an unsound market system; and the rigid administration of the government.

Ma Zhanfeng, general secretary of the China Plastics Processing Industry Association, said it’s imperative for the industry to change and upgrade. “Otherwise, [it will face] a dead end.”

He continued to point out that it’s critical for the upstream materials industry to transform and upgrade first. “If it doesn’t do so, it will be very difficult for the downstream [industry] to transform and upgrade.”

China’s plastics industry is still a sunrise industry though, Ma added, with plenty of opportunities ahead of it.